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Science & technology

Andritz to supply textile recycling Sweden

Core elements of the new recycling system will be Andritz ADuro shredders, which will shred used textiles in only one shredding step. With unique capabilities, the ADuro shredders cut the incoming material uniformly and cleanly while enabling a very high throughput. In the subsequent separation stages, contaminants like buttons and zippers will be removed from the shredded textiles. Renewcell uses this pre-treated material to produce a pure, natural dissolving pulp made from 100% recycled textiles.

In addition, the scope of supply includes additional key pieces of equipment. With the state-of-the-art equipment from Andritz, up to 60,000 tons of used textiles per year can be handled in the new recycling plant.

Renewcell, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, was founded in 2012 and is specialized in the recycling of textiles. The recycling technology employed by Renewcell dissolves used cotton and other cellulose fibers and transforms them into a new raw material, the so called Circulose® pulp, which is further used to make biodegradable virgin quality viscose or lyocell textile fibers for the fashion industry.

Interecycling Sociedade de Reciclagem relies on Tomra technology

The integration of a Finder and a Finder with NIR sensor enabled the plant to increase its efficiency by precisely separating metals and plastics for subsequent recovery.

The recycling sector has experienced a great growth in recent years, mainly due to the increase in demand for recyclable material as raw material as well as the requirements at the level of legislation that internationally are promoting processes that allow to achieve a circular economy. For this reason, there is an increasing need to recycle and recover the different components.

As Eduardo Morán, Area Sales Manager Iberia at Tomra, tells us: “There is a growing interest from the industry in sensor-based separation technologies to help maximize profits and meet current and future requirements. The trend is clear and regulations will become more and more demanding. We are therefore confident that Tomra’s technology will help to comply with legislation and new regulations at both local and European level,” he says.

The Marcovil Group, founded in 1987, and with innovative technology in the field of mechanical engineering, develops, manufactures and installs machines and turnkey solutions that promote the circular economy. Its developments achieve a correct separation of waste and recovery of secondary raw materials. Interecycling specializes in the recycling of electronic and electrical waste. They turned to Tomra with the aim of acquiring technology to achieve greater efficiency in its WEEE recycling line by carrying out a correct automated separation of metals and polymers.

“Tomra, since its foundation in the 70s, is known for its strong technological capacity, which translates into a wide range of machines and industrial solutions of high reliability and precision, subject to a continuous process of improvement and innovation. This is why we chose Tomra Recycling’s equipment”, says Bruno Silva, Sales Representative of the Marcovil Group. “Both the Finder 2400 and the Finder 1800 with NIR are impressive in terms of production capacity and material recovery, which is practically impossible to obtain using other solutions from the market. In this way, we are able to obtain metals and plastics of exceptional quality. In addition, the equipment has an additional advantage: it avoids having to send large quantities of material to landfill, which, in turn, is a more economically and environmentally friendly appraoch”, he continues.

Eduardo Morán adds: “The main advantage of using this equipment is, without a doubt, being able to automatically separate the different components of WEEE, drastically reducing the inefficiency involved in carrying out this separation manually. In addition, it significantly reduces personnel costs and exponentially increases production (t/h), as well as the recovery of metals and recoverable polymers with the economic benefit that this entails”.

“Tomra is synonymous with quality and reliability, and has a serious and very professional team. Their after-sales service is also very efficient. We hope that this partnership will be long-lasting and that Tomra will soon be involved in new Marcovil projects,” says Bruno Silva.
Specific solutions for specific needs

Interecycling turned to Tomra to get the technology able to process 4t/h of WEEE material. “Today, thanks to Finder and Finder with NIR sensor, we have reached 6 t/h”, says Bruno Silva proudly.

They also wanted to recover both the metal fraction and the plastic fraction, with special interest in recovering printed circuit boards and copper cables, due to their high market value. This has been achieved thanks to the advanced sensors featured in Tomra’s Finder and Finder with NIR.

The process starts with the Finder, which separates the metals into a metal concentrate and a metal-free plastics fraction. This metal fraction is further processed by the Finder with NIR sensor, which separates the printed circuit boards (electronic boards) and, in a second machine step, is able to generate a wire fraction as well. Due to the combination of different sensors the device identifies visible plastics by polymer type as well as different types of metal fractions (such as boards, wires or stainless steel), thus perfecting the process.
The Finder 2400 achieves high purity fractions regardless of the complexity of the materials or their particle size. Thanks to its patented Tomra SUPPIXX and IOR (Intelligent Object recognition)technologies and its state-of-the-art electromagnetic sensor (EM3), it detects metal objects with maximum precision, separating the metal fraction from the plastic fraction in a process that is effective in terms of throughput, purity and efficiency. “In this case, the equipment is aimed at obtaining a metal concentrate. But, if necessary, the machine can also generate a high quality stainless steel monofraction, because it is able to identify the high electromagnetic signal intensity of this material”, explains Eduardo Morán.

The Finder 1800 with NIR 1800 is a Finder (with its EM3 electromagnetic sensor together with SUPPIXX and IOR), to which a NIR (Near Infrared) scanner is added for the identification of visible polymers. The NIR sensor allows to separate plastics from the WEEE stream by the type of polymer. It can also separate the PCBs and cables (composed of metal+polymer) , which requires both sensors (NIR-EM3) for a correct identification.

Thanks to Tomra’s local technical service in Portugal, the movement restrictions decreed by the COVID-19 health crisis have not impacted the realization of the project.

“At Tomra we are close to the customer and, even in these difficult times, we have been able to offer an excellent service, start up and optimize the equipment, so that the customer can work with a certain degree of normality in times of pandemic,” says Eduardo Morán.
“Although the coronavirus has brought challenges that, due to teleworking, could have reduced productivity, we have never closed the company, always showing a strong commitment to customers, suppliers and partners,” says Bruno Silva.

David Nogueira, from Tomra’s Technical Service in Portugal, explains how they achieved this: “Although Portugal has had many restrictions, we managed to optimize the installation time of both machines. We started with a review of the plant situation and spent a week assembling the machines. We also carried out tests and adjustments to the two units to maximise purity and make the plastics fraction metal-free.

Study finds competition is beneficial to circular economy

This is the result of a new study conducted by think tank adelphi on behalf of European Recycling Platform. The study also provides recommendations on how to further strengthen the performance of competitive EPR schemes.

The study finds that producer responsibility organisations operating in a competitive environment show a strong focus on driving innovation and improving the services offered to producers. They also tend to lead to higher customer satisfaction and ensure a cost- efficient implementation of waste management activities such as collection, sorting and recycling. Monopolistic systems, on the other hand, tend to rely on effective but often costly innovation and have a higher risk of market power abuse if transparency is insufficient.

These results hold for waste electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, and packaging.

“Extended producer responsibility has proven over the last years to be a very effective means to tackle one of society’s most pressing issues: the growing amount of waste. As the new study suggests, this instrument is particularly powerful and cost-efficient when there is competition between multiple actors. In order to accelerate the transition towards circularity, we need to remove barriers for competition and avoid a concentration of market power at all stages of waste management. Landbell Group has implemented competitive extended producer responsibility throughout Europe for over 20 years and is committed to maintain this role for the journey ahead,” says Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Landbell Group.

In order to further strengthen the performance of competitive EPR schemes, the study suggests to ensure a level playing field between multiple producer responsibility organisations by establishing coordination bodies independent of private interest. The main tasks of these mandatory bodies would be to coordinate and monitor the allocation of collection responsibilities, to manage joint activities such as awareness campaigns, and to function as an intermediary between PROs and other stakeholders such as local authorities. The study also recommends working towards an EU-wide harmonisation of the criteria for the eco-modulation of EPR fees.

The report “Analysis of Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes” was conducted by adelphi in June 2021 and reviewed by independent scientific reviewers. It assesses the performance of different EPR schemes in Europe using six selected case studies under consideration of nine environmental, economic, and technical key performance indicators, such as collection and recycling rates, costs for producers, or stakeholder satisfaction.

Download report

Good practices in tackling fires caused by lithium batteries in e-waste

A new report compiles good practices addressed to all actors in the value chain and covering all phases of products’ lifecycle.

More and more electrical and electronic products in everyday life contain batteries, making life more convenient and pleasant. However, those same batteries, when damaged, also increasingly cause fires.

In the past few months, organisations representing the industry that manages the collection and treatment of spent batteries and electronic waste (WEEE) along with manufacturers of home appliances and consumer electronics, gathered to exchange views about this issue of growing concern in order to design measures to counter the frequent occurrence of fires. A survey among recyclers resulted in a better understanding of the issue of fires in the WEEE management chain. The report , “Recommendations for tackling fires caused by lithium batteries in WEEE”, has been prepared by the WEEE Forum and EuRIC with the active contribution of experts from various organisations including the co-signatories EERA, EUCOBAT, Municipal Waste Europe and the WEEELABEX Organisation. The report presents a set of recommendations and good practices aimed at countering the occurrence of fire incidents caused by lithium batteries and WEEE containing lithium batteries.

“The report concludes that there is not a magic formula that will eradicate the risk of fires caused by WEEE containing batteries”, says the WEEE Forum. “It is imperative that actions are taken urgently in all steps of the lifecycles of EEE and lithium batteries and by all actors in the value chain: from design to disposal of WEEE and batteries including the consideration of transport and treatment. For this, further work to assess the extent of the issue and potential solutions is required’’.

A thermal event may become a severe incident if is not rapidly detected and extinguished. Training, prevention, and detection measures are therefore essential for identifying and tackling risky situations. The report comprises recommendations and good practices addressed to the main participants in the steps of the EEE and WEEE value chain and includes recommendations to producer responsibility organisations of EEE and batteries, to local authorities, and policy makers.

“The European Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan identify ‘electronics’ among key product value chains where recycling plays a major role in achieving sustainability goals. Battery fires are a genuine challenge for the recycling industry and the entire value chain. Properly addressing the risk of fires caused by WEEE containing lithium batteries through a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to support electronics’ recyclers which play an essential role in the achievement of the EU’s overarching sustainability goals”, says EuRIC.

Download the report

Good practices in tackling fires caused by lithium batteries in e-waste

A new report compiles good practices addressed to all actors in the value chain and covering all phases of products’ lifecycle.

More and more electrical and electronic products in everyday life contain batteries, making life more convenient and pleasant. However, those same batteries, when damaged, also increasingly cause fires.

In the past few months, organisations representing the industry that manages the collection and treatment of spent batteries and electronic waste (WEEE) along with manufacturers of home appliances and consumer electronics, gathered to exchange views about this issue of growing concern in order to design measures to counter the frequent occurrence of fires. A survey among recyclers resulted in a better understanding of the issue of fires in the WEEE management chain. The report , “Recommendations for tackling fires caused by lithium batteries in WEEE”, has been prepared by the WEEE Forum and EuRIC with the active contribution of experts from various organisations including the co-signatories EERA, EUCOBAT, Municipal Waste Europe and the WEEELABEX Organisation. The report presents a set of recommendations and good practices aimed at countering the occurrence of fire incidents caused by lithium batteries and WEEE containing lithium batteries.

“The report concludes that there is not a magic formula that will eradicate the risk of fires caused by WEEE containing batteries”, says the WEEE Forum. “It is imperative that actions are taken urgently in all steps of the lifecycles of EEE and lithium batteries and by all actors in the value chain: from design to disposal of WEEE and batteries including the consideration of transport and treatment. For this, further work to assess the extent of the issue and potential solutions is required’’.

A thermal event may become a severe incident if is not rapidly detected and extinguished. Training, prevention, and detection measures are therefore essential for identifying and tackling risky situations. The report comprises recommendations and good practices addressed to the main participants in the steps of the EEE and WEEE value chain and includes recommendations to producer responsibility organisations of EEE and batteries, to local authorities, and policy makers.

“The European Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan identify ‘electronics’ among key product value chains where recycling plays a major role in achieving sustainability goals. Battery fires are a genuine challenge for the recycling industry and the entire value chain. Properly addressing the risk of fires caused by WEEE containing lithium batteries through a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to support electronics’ recyclers which play an essential role in the achievement of the EU’s overarching sustainability goals”, says EuRIC.

Download the report

Design for Chemical Recycling kills Innovation Upstream

Even if 40 % of plastic packaging is reported as recycled in the EU, the effective recycling rate is about 10-15%. Only 5% of the value of plastic packaging material is estimated to be retained in the economy.

Why? Because, although they are claimed to be, most plastic packaging today is not designed for reuse and recycling or recyclable. Plastic products, which are increasingly being marketed with misleading claims, need to be designed for mechanical recycling in order to have an effective collection throughout the EU.

Janek Vähk, Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe, says:

“Designing for chemical recycling’ endangers actual recyclability of plastics and hinder the efforts to phase out those hard-to-recycle. Considering the high environmental impact, lack of infrastructure and unproven efficiency, chemical recycling should be the last resort”.

A harmonised and enforceable definition and criteria for recyclability of plastics must build on real recovering, i.e. existing, widespread, and scaled operations. We must design products to be treated through sustainable, efficient, and low-carbon operations. The EU must avoid diverting plastics to chemical recycling by ensuring they are either reused or designed for mechanical recycling.

We, therefore, recommend:

  1. Establish a clear harmonised definition of recyclability that combines qualitative definition, quantitative criteria and implementing legislation which specify design-for-recycling criteria
  2. Strengthen enforcement of the essential requirements in the revised PPWD Directive and a bonus-malus and eco-modulation fee system complemented with clear restrictions
  3. Ensure that recyclability is assessed on the basis of best available technology with respect to a ‘waste recycling hierarchy’, i.e. priority is given to mechanical recycling with no competition with other technologies for the same plastic waste stream
  4. Replace the ‘green dot’ and strengthen recyclability claims towards consumers by introducing a mandatory, traceable label

“A strong push towards a truly circular design is needed to prepare plastics for reuse and recycling according to the most environmentally sound options and avoid carbon-intensive treatment, such as pyrolysis and gasification. Plastic packaging should be designed for mechanical recycling, and have effective collection and sorting systems throughout the EU”, states Vähk.

Read the full report

Design for Chemical Recycling kills Innovation Upstream

Even if 40 % of plastic packaging is reported as recycled in the EU, the effective recycling rate is about 10-15%. Only 5% of the value of plastic packaging material is estimated to be retained in the economy.

Why? Because, although they are claimed to be, most plastic packaging today is not designed for reuse and recycling or recyclable. Plastic products, which are increasingly being marketed with misleading claims, need to be designed for mechanical recycling in order to have an effective collection throughout the EU.

Janek Vähk, Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe, says:

“Designing for chemical recycling’ endangers actual recyclability of plastics and hinder the efforts to phase out those hard-to-recycle. Considering the high environmental impact, lack of infrastructure and unproven efficiency, chemical recycling should be the last resort”.

A harmonised and enforceable definition and criteria for recyclability of plastics must build on real recovering, i.e. existing, widespread, and scaled operations. We must design products to be treated through sustainable, efficient, and low-carbon operations. The EU must avoid diverting plastics to chemical recycling by ensuring they are either reused or designed for mechanical recycling.

We, therefore, recommend:

  1. Establish a clear harmonised definition of recyclability that combines qualitative definition, quantitative criteria and implementing legislation which specify design-for-recycling criteria
  2. Strengthen enforcement of the essential requirements in the revised PPWD Directive and a bonus-malus and eco-modulation fee system complemented with clear restrictions
  3. Ensure that recyclability is assessed on the basis of best available technology with respect to a ‘waste recycling hierarchy’, i.e. priority is given to mechanical recycling with no competition with other technologies for the same plastic waste stream
  4. Replace the ‘green dot’ and strengthen recyclability claims towards consumers by introducing a mandatory, traceable label

“A strong push towards a truly circular design is needed to prepare plastics for reuse and recycling according to the most environmentally sound options and avoid carbon-intensive treatment, such as pyrolysis and gasification. Plastic packaging should be designed for mechanical recycling, and have effective collection and sorting systems throughout the EU”, states Vähk.

Read the full report

Stadler builds largest mechanical sorting plant in Brazil

This will be the largest mechanical sorting plant ever built in the Brazilian market. Stadler has designed and implemented the entire project with two overarching objectives: to modernise and to strengthen Orizon’s plant for the sorting process and select the recoverable products with highest value to serve increasingly demanding domestic and international markets.

Orizon Valorização de Resíduos operates 5 ecoparks in Brazil, and its waste management and processing facilities receive approximately 4.6 million tonnes of waste per year, serving approximately 20 million people and more than 500 business customers. Because of the efficiency and prominence of the new plant, the project will be replicated in the future in the rest of the company’s facilities throughout the country.

Stadler builds largest mechanical sorting plant in Brazil

This will be the largest mechanical sorting plant ever built in the Brazilian market. Stadler has designed and implemented the entire project with two overarching objectives: to modernise and to strengthen Orizon’s plant for the sorting process and select the recoverable products with highest value to serve increasingly demanding domestic and international markets.

Orizon Valorização de Resíduos operates 5 ecoparks in Brazil, and its waste management and processing facilities receive approximately 4.6 million tonnes of waste per year, serving approximately 20 million people and more than 500 business customers. Because of the efficiency and prominence of the new plant, the project will be replicated in the future in the rest of the company’s facilities throughout the country.

RecyClass tests functional barriers in PP containers

EVOH which is combined with a polypropylene-grafted maleic anhydride (PP-g-MAH, with MAH > 0.1%) tie layer does not jeopardize the recyclability of a package, the findings demonstrated.

Testing was performed on a PP bottle consisting of 6% of EVOH with 3% of PP-grafted-MAH tie layers (by weight), as well as on a PP sheet with the same levels of the EVOH and PP-g-MAH.

The German lab Institut für Kunststofftechnologie und -recycling (IKTR) was tasked with carrying out the analysis following the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for PP containers.

The results show that concentration of up to 6% of EVOH (with respect to overall packaging weight) tied with PP grafted maleic anhydride will not have a negative impact on the PP rigids and, therefore, is fully compatible with the respective stream. Additionally, same structure with concentrations higher than 6% of EVOH were found to have limited recycling compatibility. Both conclusions are applicable to all types of PP rigid packaging, that includes not only bottles and sheets that were tested but also tubes, pots and trays.

The recycled material coming from this packaging can be used in high-end applications including bottles and sheets.

RecyClass recommends to compatibilise the EVOH-barrier layer with a minimal amount of tie layer, following a ratio below two of EVOH versus tie layer. The recommendations described above are not to be universally applied to other types of tie layers, as their compatibility must be further tested.

The aforementioned results are used to update the RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines for PP Natural and Coloured Containers and respectively the RecyClass Online Tool.

Moreover, these findings are in line with the previous testing done on EVOH in HDPE containers released last year. They contribute to increasing the knowledge about the functional barriers and their impact on the recyclability of plastic packaging.